Palie Cantu
By Palie Cantu
Middle School Mathematics Teacher
February 26, 2019
Explore – verb. 1 a. to investigate, study, or analyze: look into. 1 b. to become familiar with by testing or exploring.  
One piece of advice I like to give middle school students is try new things. Middle school is a time when students are developing their sense of identity. Trying new things is an important building block that can help a student develop a stronger sense of what they like, what they don’t like, what they are good at and even what they become passionate about.  
During second semester, students in grades 5 – 8 are offered a variety classes to explore new interests or delve more deeply into current interests. This year I decided that I wanted to join in the exploring of something new. As a math teacher, I appreciate the value of exploring things that involve some spatial thinking skills. I decided to offer a Handiwork Explore class in which students would join me in learning to make origami, knit and tie knots. I know the basics of knitting but have never done origami or learned anything about knots other than how to tie my shoes!  
So far, I have enjoyed exploring origami with the seven girls in fifth through eight grade who signed up for Handiwork Explore. I appreciate the opportunity to model what it is like to try something new and even be a little outside my comfort zone. I appreciate the opportunity to learn with my students and have fun figuring out how to correctly fold paper to create a three-dimensional figure.  
What new thing might you explore?
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